Turning 26, what happens next

My daughter is turning 26 on December 12th.  So, she will have to come off of my health insurance.  When does she have to come off — December 1st?  And do I have to notify the plan?

Maine Mom

Dear Maine Mom,

Congratulations on raising a child to adulthood (or at least to her own health insurance).

The plan knows exactly when she will turn 26.  You do not need to notify them.  They will notify you and her.  If COBRA is available, they will tell you how to enroll.

She will be dropped from your plan on the first of the month after she turns 26.  So she will need her own coverage on January 1st.  By coincidence, that is the start of a new plan year for the insurance exchange.  She will be looking at plans during open enrollment along with everyone else.  Plans and rates will be published in mid-November on healthcare.gov.

Chances are that a plan from the exchange will be less expensive than COBRA.  The exchange plans would offer her subsidies based upon her income; COBRA has no subsidies.  If your daughter has a chronic illness or ongoing medical costs, then the COBRA plan might be better.  Generally, group plans have lower deductibles and co-pays than most exchange plans.  It’s a trade off between monthly premiums and out-of-pocket costs for medical bills.

Good luck!

Linda Riddell

About Linda Riddell

A published author and health policy analyst with 25 years’ experience, Linda Riddell's goal is to alleviate the widespread ailment of not knowing what your health plan can do for you.